Featured, Race & Politics

Sherry Hall (AKA “Officer Becky”) And How The “Big, Bad, (Black) Dude” Is America’s Boogeyman

We keep cycling through the same macabre Groundhog’s Day events of learning of an egregious police shooting. Then protesting. Then simmering down. Then learning of yet another death. But perhaps the most ridiculous police-involved shooting in September shed no actual blood.

Sherry Hall, a White female police officer from Jackson, GA, claimed a Black man shot her and then galloped into the woods. Without her bulletproof vest, she swore she would’ve been a goner. The horrified, usually crime-free city of Jackson left no stone unturned. They stormed through the forest to defend the virtue and honor of the assaulted White lady cop. Her daughter even went on television and begged the unknown gunman to turn himself in.

Well, as it turns out, Officer Becky made the whole thing up. Authorities discovered she likely shot herself. Her tall tale unraveled less than two weeks after she conjured up the image of a wild, 6’1”, 230-lb Black boogeyman on the loose. She’s since checked herself into a facility for treatment. Her fellow officers will arrest her the moment she leaves the facility.

Thankfully, no Black men died as a result of her fraud, but the lie still wasn’t a victimless crime.

University of Florida law professor Katheryn Russell-Brown coined the term “racial hoax” in 1998 to denote a false reporting of a crime based on another person’s race. Overwhelmingly, Black males are the primary victims of racial hoaxes in America. Someone commits a crime or desires attention and decides the perfect person to blame is a big, Black dude. It’s happened over and over since slavery.

Each time I hear of a White woman inventing crimes perpetrated by an imaginary Black man, I think of Susan Smith. In case you don’t know or forgot, Smith lied in 1994 that a Black man kidnapped her two sons. She had actually driven her car into a lake and drowned the boys.

As with Officer Becky, it only took the police a little over a week to discover that Smith was lying. This tells me one thing: the story of a “big, black man” never has to be well thought-out. All the lie needs is the right person to sell it.

But Black people have a keen nose for bullshit. In Smith’s case, Black folks cocked their heads and wondered what sane Black man would steal two White kids who aren’t his? What brother argues with a lady cop (Officer Becky), shoots her, and then runs into the woods? What Black man carves a backward B into a White woman’s face after a mugging to make her vote for Obama? No one who exists.

The racist imagination not only transforms Black men into monsters, but it also makes their actions seem inscrutable. The boogeyman has no logic; it’s not human. The public readily accepts strange fiction surrounding Black men because it believes the big, bad boogeyman is capable of anything. People will mobilize without question to hunt down the boogeyman. People will shoot an unarmed teenager and say they saw a demon.

The danger in Officer Becky’s fraud becomes most apparent when the police do find someone who “fits the description” or who resembles the boogeyman lurking in their racist imagination. It’s what makes Stop and Frisk sound like a picnic. How many Black men get mistaken for the boogeyman? The belief in Black male inhumanity kills Black men weekly. Terence Crutcher looked like a “big, bad dude” to a police officer all the way up in a helicopter. Police pulled Philando Castile over because he “matched” a suspect with a “wide-set nose.” Darren Wilson described Michael Brown as Hulk Hogan.

It’s no coincidence Sherry Hall (Officer Becky) would pull a stunt like this while the country suffers from heightened unrest between cops and Black communities. Her easy reach for the shadowy Black male boogeyman is not a mental health issue: it’s symptomatic of American racism. She exploited a fear White America yet refuses to admit it harbors. And as long they imagine Black (boogey)men looming larger than life, they will always find a reason to hunt or shoot brothers to death.

Dara Mathis

Dara T. Mathis is a freelance writer newly based in the DMV and the sweet & snark behind TrulyTafakari.com. She tweets for the love of biscuits.

  • PhlyyPhree

    I’m glad she’ll be arrested once she leaves whatever stop over facility shes in, but I hate that “mental illness” was her go to.
    Somehow, I feel like she’ll be in rehab for quite some time.

    • Tambra

      You know that excuse does not go across the board, that’s the sad thing.

      • Kas

        You live! Yay!

        • Tambra

          Yes hun. As I had hoped a little rain that’s all. You know God from the Southern Caribbean so you know he wouldn’t let nothing bad happen to us.

        • Tambra

          It’s now Tropical Storm Matthew. Expected to intensify by the time it gets to Northern Caribbean early next week.

    • NomadaNare

      They execute folks of color with mental illness

      Yet somehow Officer Becky gets to claim she hears voices and temporarily escapes punishment for victimizing more people of color

      • Took the words right out my mouth.

      • Tambra

        Because we always pose a clear and present danger. We would however not be so dangerous if we revert to our original purpose . s/

      • Nik White

        Ain’t that something?!

    • Lying isn’t a mental illness. It’s someone you train young children not to do.

      Her using mental illness as an excuse insults the actually mentally ill- who the police kill disproportionately

      https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/where-the-reaper-rests/
      Join the Facebook community– https://www.facebook.com/forthedeadanddying

    • Negro Libre

      I’ve heard a lot of lies from mentally ill people, but the mental illness was never the basis behind the lie. Police be trying to make CYA a mental illness…smh

    • Asiyah

      “Mental Illness” only applies to them. Everyone else in the world is personally responsible for their actions because we’re either brainwashed by religion or hurt over things from the past that we just can’t get over.

  • Courtney Wheeler

    This angers me a lot. Think about the black men who’ve actually lost their lives because of a “little white lie” It hurts really.

    • cyanic

      Becky devastates whole black communities over lies concerning her virtue which she never had.

    • Blueberry01

      Emmett Till…

  • Dee

    She should be charged simply put. In the mean time white middle class feminists needs to stop asking if Sally being charged is sexist. I mean really?!

  • I agree with you that Officer Hall did this to exploit the fear of a black planet. She didn’t even think of the danger she placed local blacks in. I’m happy this got solved, but am doubtful she’ll be held accountable in any meaningful way.

    https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/where-the-reaper-rests/
    Join the Facebook community– https://www.facebook.com/forthedeadanddying

    • grownandsexy2

      “She didn’t even think of the danger she placed local blacks in.”

      And she didn’t care.

  • Dara!!!

    We get bigger, blacker, and more dangerous each time these lies are told.

    • Tambra

      You know that our skin is a reflection of our souls or the lack thereof.

      • Black men are Luke Cage: Big, black, strong, rage-fueled, and bullet proof.

        • Tambra

          So how do you explain the deaths?

          • Easy, Tambra. Luke Cage is as fictional as the white idea of the invincible, monstrous, and death dealing beasts that they think we are.

        • Am I the only one really hyped for the series to drop on Friday? I’ve cleared my entire social calendar.

          https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/where-the-reaper-rests/
          Join the Facebook community– https://www.facebook.com/forthedeadanddying

          • No. I can’t wait.

          • Buster Cannon

            I’m hype!

          • Valerie

            I know this show is a spin off of the show Jessica Jones. Do I have to watch Jessica Jones cause I really don’t want to. I’m familiar with Luke Cage and his relationship with Jessica. Just couldn’t get into the show…

            • I don’t think so.

              • Valerie

                Wonderful. I’ll check it out then

                Thanks.

            • Buster Cannon

              I didn’t care for JJ that much either. It’s not bad, but a wide majority of the characters were just outright unlikeable compared to Daredevil lol

              • Valerie

                I didn’t watch Daredevil either lol

              • I liked Jessica. I think her, Luke, and Daredevil work because they’re are broken AF.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  I started Jessica and couldn’t finish. It was interesting, butafter about the 6/7th episode, I just couldn’t take it anymore

              • See, DD isn’t my style, but JJ hit all the right spots. Maybe it was seeing my favorite Doctor on the screen again.

            • All of the MCU is connected in a loose sense; essentially, if you want to understand why Marvel’s New York is so crime ridden, you have to watch the original Avengers move and go from there.

              I don’t think you need to want Jessica Jones to get the full Luke Cage experience. Then again, Marvel loves to throw curve balls.

              • Valerie

                I hope they don’t throw any curve balls lol.

                • Watching the other shows will help understand some minor characters’ roles and easter eggs.

                  • Valerie

                    True, I’m lazy so I’ll probably just ask my nerdy friends to fill in the content I’m missing lol

          • DG

            Man, come on…the trailers alone got me hype.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Nope. I’m so excited. (No Jessie Spano)

          • Mr. Man and I are going to a watch party on Saturday. Can’t wait!

    • Hey Wu! :::waves:::

  • Negro Libre

    Reminds me of G.I. Joe:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZhXb1AesWQ

    Funny how little evidence 2520’s need to believe magnificent tales of modern day Hannibals seeking to reek havoc to noble blanche communities.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    ” She’s since checked herself into a facility for treatment”

    Is there a reverse for drapetomania in the DSM IV?

  • skinnynow

    You brought up Susan Smith, but the case also reminded me of the runaway bride from Georgia in the early 2000s. Instead of a black dude kidnapping Smith’s kids, it was a Hispanic dude who kidnapped and sexually assaulted the bride (who just didn’t want to marry her fiance). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_bride_case

    It’s so easy to prey on people’s unwarranted fears than to admit you don’t want to do something. This isn’t mental illness. It’s immaturity. It’s privilege in its finest form. Only this privilege could get people killed.

    • miss t-lee

      I remember this broad also.

    • Mochasister

      I remember that freak. Isn’t she the one that had the multicolored towel over her head when they found her?

  • cakes_and_pies
    • Other_guy13

      I actually did laugh at this one…she look like the joker

    • Lol but this black eye shadow bwahahahaaaa

    • La_Dee_Da

      How is this comical and sad at the same time? LOL

    • If she don’t get on with that poor makeup application.

    • NonyaB

      Wait, WHAT?!! She actually thought this lame-azz clowning makeup application looked credible? She better get the heII on!

      • Question

        You Tube smokey eye tutorial gone wrong. After 30 minutes she stood in the mirror like “now what else can I do with this?!”…

    • miss t-lee

      This makes me think of that girl who drew that B on her face and said we did it.

    • Mochasister

      She looks like Harambe.

    • ElusiveCupcake

      The only person who jumped her was Easy, Breezy, Cover Girl.

  • Things like this make me wonder what it is that black men see in white women.

    • I don’t see how downing interracial relationships connects to this article.

    • -h.h.h.-

      same thing black women see in white men but inverted for the chexy parts?

      • I don’t see it for either *shrug*

        • -h.h.h.-

          for some, love is love is love, is love is love. *double shrug with a side order of meh*

      • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

        Nope

        • L O L

        • -h.h.h.-

          yup

          • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

            Nah

            • -h.h.h.-

              fa shizzle

      • cyanic

        White men represent something else entirely to nonwhite women. It usually isn’t of their bedroom prowess.

        • This is an interesting thought.

          • cyanic

            They’re social stature. They have agency above men in any other group. And your mixed children have the potential to have that exotic beauty.

            • That’s always been so dumb to me “exotic” beauty. Everyone is exotic to someone who ain’t from where you’re from. So overrated. People being obsessed with having children that they’d like to have secks with is scary to me. Why, as a man do you want your daughter to be “fine enough to be fukkable”???

              • People have a thing for silky hair and light skin…idk what it is about these wavy light skin babies that people are lusting after…but it’s weird. They’re…BABIES

                • It’s not even about them being babies, it’s about how they’ll look as adults. That’s why people care so much. It’s nasty.

                  • This all reminds me of the meme of that poor little wavy lightskin baby and it was captioned “when you just want to go outside and play, but your mom wants you to be Miguel” LMAO…but that’s real life. People are not seeing children for them being children…they are laying in wait for them to reach the fuckablity stage in life…and that is weird.

                • Mochasister

                  It is weird. Personally I would want children who look like me.

              • WTF? Who DOES that??? Is this a millennial thing? LOL.

        • -h.h.h.-

          are you saying black males see something different in white females than what BF see in WM?

          • cyanic

            Yes. I think black men and white women see each other from a very physical place.

            • Kas

              I can’t speak for ww, but I don’t disagree from a bm perspective.

        • Mochasister

          Or their looks. White men are at the top of the human chain. They have a lot of social cache in society. I think a lot of non white women want to be next to their power.

          • cyanic

            White men at their best physically are no competition for black men at their most average.

            • Mochasister

              Lol! I happen to agree. I am not really attracted to pale or pink skin. And I prefer full lips. In my opinion a Black man’s looks are kind of the icing on the cake. I like the cultural connection. There is an understanding there that doesn’t exist with a white man. At least not for me. Are you by chance a Black man?

              • cyanic

                A light skin gay black man yes.

    • I wonder it to. And not in a way that says “all whites are bad” but in the same way I don’t believe in “good cops” because…people in the group as a whole are complicit, and thus can’t be trusted. I simply don’t have that level of trust in white people to NOT be at the least…silently complicit in racism.

      • It’s funny, I personally know two black officers (one is a detective in my city) and both are my age 27-30 years old. Neither of them has openly said to me that they don’t rock with BLM, but from posts I’ve seen, they have sided with their police brethren on all things police brutality related. It’s sad but I understand why they’ve chosen to do so.

        • Adrienne_in_MTown

          They can’t side against their fellow comrades and risk losing their bread and butter. There’s a silent code that must be upheld at all costs.

          • Which I understand. Can’t schit where you eat.

            • Adrienne_in_MTown

              Sadly, yes. We all have to walk a line. That one seems much thinner than ours. (Not that I agree with the code, but I understand it.)

              • It’s tough I’m sure. Being an officer isn’t an easy job and the pay is crap when you consider what it is they’re doing on a daily basis.

                • Kas

                  How are you defining crap pay? I think they are paid fairly well.

                  • In my county they are barely making above what some school teachers make. I can’t speak for other counties, states, etc.

                    • Kas

                      I’m only familiar with los Angeles county and city.

                    • They are making beans in NC compared to whatever they’re paying in Cali. Trust.

            • Basically.

          • Brother Mouzone

            Bread and butter? They risk losing their LIFE in some instances. Wearing that blue doesn’t necessarily protect them from those other ones wearing blue…they still beyotches for siding with their “comrades” though.

        • Negro Libre

          I mean, honestly, they have too.

          Ain’t no one trying to be Serpico. I even heard down in the NYPD, till this day, he’s still referred to as a rat.

          • It’s crazy how people get when they’re in groups. Even if what you’re doing as a group is morally and ethically wrong, if you stray from that group you’ll be seen as a traitor.

            • Negro Libre

              It’s way worse when the group in question has to compete or engage in violence against others. Which is why this whole idea of police regulating themselves has to be a setup and license for abuses of power to happen.

              • Yeah, I don’t trust any internal or external police regulating. The people in SBI, FBI, CIA, etc. are all former officers or have personal connects to officers. How can one objectively investigate wrong doing at these levels when everyone is on the same team???

        • Valerie

          My original comment was moderated. But I said that your cop acquaintances remind me on my ex. He was also a cop and did not like BLM either.

          He also didn’t know of the band Maze music which should have been a clue. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m glad I’m free from his weird way of thinking. I think I just liked his muscles.

          • I have also been blinded by a pretty face and chiseled abs. Thank God we are free from bondage! Lol

          • Other_guy13

            He don’t know Frank Bev and the Boyz….other people have muscles Val….don’t ever let me catch you doing that again. https://media.giphy.com/media/26BkLCUdp1lqUA2JO/giphy.gif

            • Valerie

              :( Ok lol.

              • Other_guy13

                I’m just tryna give you a chance…trust the process lol

          • Nik White

            I’m glad that you’re free from him too – muscles not withstanding but OG and Kaz are working out so….

            • Kas

              Spoken for and married, in that order. Brass on the other hand . . .

              • Nik White

                She just wants to lust – I mean look!

            • Valerie

              They don’t live in Houston so alas my dilemma lol

        • grownandsexy2

          Wonder how they feel when they take off the blue and are looked at as just another suspect.

    • Black men grow up in America. We get brainwashed the same as anyone else. And some of them have donks. Jussayin. LOL Really though, we aren’t immune to cultural colonialism.

      • Tambra

        So right. That is why light skinned black people are almost always seen as prettier than their dark skinned counterparts. And let’s not enter the mechanics of good hair.

        • Other_guy13

          “hat is why light skinned black people are almost always seen as prettier than their dark skinned ” lies

          • Tambra

            I aint knocking you.

        • grownandsexy2

          Yep. Hair could walk down the street by itself. My friends thought I had lost it when I cut my hair off. 14 years and they still ride my azz.

          • Tambra

            It’s deep down in our psyche.

      • But that’s just it! You see stories of white women throwing black men under the bus for #sexual assault, battery, etc. on more than a few occasions. Why risk it all like that? Zeke, Cowboys player, just had this white woman accuse him of beating her up and come to find out, she was out here fabricating things for money. Like, is the fire not hot until y’all personally touch it?

        • cyanic

          Because there is a competing narrative of black women mistreating the father or fathers of their child/children.

        • -h.h.h.-

          because ‘being thrown under the bus’ might not be exclusive to just white females?

          • It isn’t, you’re right. Black women do it too.

        • Negro Libre

          You should date more women lol

          • I don’t date any women

            • Negro Libre

              Which is exactly the problem hehe

    • Buster Cannon

      Same reason why they’d be interested in any other woman. Believe it or not, not all white folks are racist…

      • -h.h.h.-

        Believe it or not, not all white folks are racist…

        https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/bf/2e/0b/bf2e0b25cdaa7b919c330175f3c41472.jpg

        *shock and awe*

      • I’ll stay in my lane then. I keep it cordial with white people but that about it.

      • grownandsexy2

        They may not be but I don’t trust any of them.

        • Mochasister

          Deep down inside I am leery of them as well. I tend to be on guard with them and keep an emotional distance from them.

          • grownandsexy2

            I don’t have any white friends and I’m not looking for any. And they’re always trying to befriend me. *Sigh*

            • Mochasister

              Yeah, they want a Black “friend” to prove how unracist they are. The last time I had a true white friend was in the fifth grade. I am ok with this. I have white acquaintances. That’s about it.

    • cyanic

      They have a rep of being easy going and easy.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      *puts hot sauce on pork rinds*
      *eases back into barcalounger*

    • miss t-lee

      Uh oh.

    • Freebird

      And you talk about me.

    • Other_guy13

      I really liked the contrast of colors…like a magic trick….anywho i’m going back to work now

      • Tambra

        You still on your lifelong path to become some toy for a non black woman aren’t you?

        • Other_guy13

          Nah…I love my black women…you know this…now if a west Indian comes along…i’m a gonner. It’s already been discussed and will be written in my vows.

    • Mochasister

      Oh chit! You done did it now!

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